Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

The 15 year identity moratorium

Posted by Dahlia on November 24, 2010

Marcia states that a person in identity moratorium is when “the person actively searches out various possibilities to find a truly solid adult path.” It is considered a “mature way style of constructing an identity.” Other definitions are somewhat more off-putting. Wikipedia defines Identity Moratorium, as “the status of individuals who are in the midst of a crisis but whose commitments are either absent or are only vaguely defined.” However, both definitions are valid. A person in this status is seeking out various opportunities in an attempt to find their true self and because of it, cannot truly commit to any one thing. I know this from first hand experience.
The search for my identity started in the 11th grade. I had been participating in a pre-engineering program since the 6th grade, taking Saturday courses to stimulate interest in the field. I was in the first day of a drafting class when I realized that I didn’t want to be an engineer. In that moment, the identity moratorium began.
By the time I graduated high school, I had settled on accounting. I figured becoming a CPA was the best thing to do because I had always been good in math. However, one semester into my freshman year, I had a change of heart. I took inventory of what I was good at. I changed my major to information systems. I like technology and could pick it up easily, so it seemed like a good fit. I did well in my courses, but even as I progressed, I couldn’t fully get in to it.
When senior year rolled around, I was unhappy with the choice I had made. However, I was attending school on scholarship and changing my major, yet again, at this point in college would’ve prolonged my stay into a fifth year. In my extracurricular activities, I had put together several events. I enjoyed it, but the closest major to event planning was hospitality management. I talked to my counselor about my options and when she told me I could just add a hospitality course and not change my major, I was relieved. I would still graduate on time with a business degree, so I had the foundation to transition into event planning.
I spent the next three years after graduating college working in marketing and communications. There was some event planning involved, but it was mostly writing, which has always been a natural ability for me. After three and a half years, I had been job eliminated twice. Dealing with unemployment forced me to take another look at what my next move would be. I went into business, creating custom invitations. Though I had picked up a few clients in the first few months, the money I was making with it wasn’t enough to sustain my home and I took on a few part time jobs while still trying to figure out what my identity was. I was still interviewing for marketing positions, but the economy had just begun to downturn and it became nearly impossible to find another marketing  job.
On impulse, I responded to a job posting for flight attendants. I figured, it’s different, a bit out of the box, and I found it fascinating. My job as a flight attendant lasted over eighteen months, until I had my son. At that point, I no longer wanted the lifestyle of a flight attendant – the constant travel and being away from home. So, I resigned and decided to return to school and find a new job.
I walked into a technical training school just wanting to pick up a few materials. I had no idea that I would be intrigued by the medical field and before long, I had signed up for courses in medical assisting. It was a steady and growing field and a precursor to nursing. I breezed through my courses, discovered I really liked venipuncture, and became excited at the prospect of becoming a registered nurse. It was actually a need to fill a prerequisite for nursing that I took a developmental psychology class.
However, there was one thing that was always around through all of my career changes and transitions. It was writing. It was something I enjoyed as a child and I had always gone back to it in my free time. This year, I decided to self-publish a novel I had been working on since I graduated from college. As I started the process of publishing, I came to realize just how much passionate I was and still am about writing. I began to envision my book on shelves, going on a book tour, working on the next novel. It can be considered an epiphany, but I call it a “Come to Jesus” moment. Nursing, while an incredible career choice, wasn’t for me. Through all of my experience, I had always been a writer. Writing is what I do. It is part of who I am. It’s what makes me the most happy. This is my life path – I am an author.
Looking back on my choices, my moratorium was a search to find my true self. I’m unsure if this holds true for anyone else in this status, but my true path had always been there, but I had been afraid to follow that road. Because it is challenging – it may be one of the most brutal career choices there is because of the heavy competition and the high likelihood of rejection. But fiction writing, like any other art form, is a career of passion. You do it because you love it and it wouldn’t be right to do anything else. I had spent fifteen years trying to do everything else, and it was never a good fit. Therefore, I have finally begun the transition out of the moratorium into Marcia’s fourth status, identity achievement. My adult life’s direction has been decided, and though the path ahead will have its challenges, I know through all of my experience in moratorium, that it is the road I should be travelling.


3 Responses to “The 15 year identity moratorium”

  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.


    Hi Yves, This is so wonderful as I was reading this I could not stop until I finish, God has blessed you with a gift and until you realized this he would not allow you to be satified, be blessed and propser in all that you do and know tha I will be one of the first to purchase your book.

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